English PEN’s New Translation Award Grants: Catalan, Uighur, Arabic, and More

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English PEN’s new round of award winners includes 18 titles coming up for publication between now and April 2018. The award grants help publishers cover the cost of translation.

Image – iStockphoto: Peshkov

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

‘Borderlands Between Fiction and Nonfiction’

In its latest list of PEN Translates awards, English PEN features 18 books translated from 14 languages and 16 countries, and includes a Uyghur memoir, Palestinian short stories, Somali poetry, an anthology of Russian women literature, a collection of Belarusian essays, a Czech feminist novel, and a Chinese graphic novel and memoir.

Women authors and translators make up more than 50 percent of the award winners in this year’s group.

2017 PEN Translates Winners
  • The Lime Tree by César Aira, translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews, And Other Stories, November.
  • Blood Barrios: Dispatches from the World’s Deadliest Streets by Alberto Arce, translated from Spanish by Daniela Ugaz and John Washington, ZED Books, February 2018.
  • The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated from Spanish by Frank Wynne, MacLehose Press, November.
  • Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky, Granta Publications, September.
  • Three Plastic Rooms by Petra Hůlová, translated from Czech by Alex Zucker, Jantar Publishing Limited, November.
  • The Land Drenched in Tears by Söyüngül Chanisheff, translated from Uighur by Rahima Mahmut, Hertfordshire Press, November.
  • Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf, translated from Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem, And Other Stories, April 2018.
  • The Underground Village by Kang Kyeong-ae, translated from Korean by Anton Hur, Honford Star, April 2018.
  • Translation as Transhumance by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz, Les Fugitives, November.
  • Narrative Poem by Yang Lian, translated from Chinese by Brian Holton, Bloodaxe Books, June.
  • One Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China by Rao Pingru, translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman, Square Peg, February 2018.
  • The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout, translated from Arabic by Perween Richards, Comma Press, March 2018.
  • A Large Czeslaw Milosz With a Dash of Elvis Presley by Tania Skarynkina, translated from Belarusian by Jim Dingley, Scotland Street Press, October.
  • Freedom Hospital: A Syrian Story by Hamid Sulaiman, translated from French by Francesca Barrie, Jonathan Cape, October.
  • Slav Sisters: The Dedalus Book of Russian Women Literature by Natalina Perova (ed.), translated from Russian by Robert Chandler, Ilona Chavasse, John Dewey, Boris Dralyuk, Andrew Bromfield English, Jamey Gambrell, Marian Schwartz, Anna Summers, Arch Tait, and Joanne Turnbull, Dedalus Limited, January 2018.
  • Can You Hear Me? By Elena Varvello, translated from Italian by Alex Valente, Two Roads, July.
  • The Sea Migrations by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf, translated from Somali by Clare Pollard, Said Janna Hussein, and Maxamed Xasn ‘Alto,’ by Bloodaxe Books and the Poetry Translation Centre, October.
  • 1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink, translated from Swedish by Fiona Graham, Scribe UK, November.
‘Creativity and Diversity’

As part of the organization’s announcement, Lulu Norman, a trustee of English PEN and chair of the Writers in Translation committee, is quoted, saying, “The books range from classic to groundbreaking and often promise to be both…

“It was clear from the many variations on essay, memoir, report or chronicle that the borderlands between fiction and nonfiction have never been so well-explored, genres never so porous. For once the number of original women writers drew level with the number of men. It is wonderful to witness this level of creativity and diversity in today’s translated literature.”

Books are selected for PEN Translates awards on the basis of outstanding literary quality, strength and innovation of the publishing project, and for contribution to literary diversity in the UK. The awards are given to publishers to cover the English-language translation costs.


More on this announcement from English PEN is here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.

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